C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City set to lose ‘country character’ ahead of MC poll
13 villages to be merged with MC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Chandigarh is set to do away with the Panchayati Raj system in the villages located on its periphery, with the UT Administration deciding to merge 13 villages with the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) ahead of the 2011 MC elections.

The decision, which will do away with certain Panchayati Raj institutions, including the village panchayat, panchayat samiti and zila parishad, will necessitate the delimitation of the existing 26 wards. However, the Market Committee is likely to be retained with the UT Administration nominating its members. A proposal to increase the wards to 32 or 35 is under the active consideration of the UT Administration, official sources told The Tribune here today.

The sources said the top brass of the UT Administration, including Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil, is “favourably inclined” to the proposal of having a uniform system of governance for the city. In fact, senior UT officials had already done the ground work for the delimitation of the MC wards by holding meetings with the officials of the Election Commission for Chandigarh and Delhi.

The UT top brass wants a uniform democratic set-up for the entire city and it is the most appropriate time for the inclusion of the 13 left-over villages into the MC, with elections to the civic body due in December this year. Currently, the MC has nine villages within its jurisdiction of which four were included in the MC limits in 1996 and remaining five in 2006.

Presently, there is a no coordinated development of villages with the MC managing nine villages and panchayats managing the remaining 13. 

Pros and cons

* The inclusion of the villages in the MC will curtail the expenditure on such Panchayati Raj institutions as panchayat, panchayat samiti and zila parishad. This money could be utilised for undertaking development works in the villages under the direct supervision of the MC. The decision will bring uniformity in city governance.

* The decision will deliver a death blow to the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution which mandated a three-tier system - panchayats, panchayat samiti and zila parishad - for the areas having rural population. Already there are allegations that the development of the villages under the MC jurisdiction leaves much to be desired.

A blessing in disguise

The inclusion of 13 villages in the MC will be a blessing in disguise for hundreds of villagers, who have built houses outside the ‘lal dora’ in the UT villages in violation of the Punjab Periphery Control Act, 1952. Since the merger of the villages in the MC will convert the rural territory into urban area, the violations outside the ‘lal dora’ could be condoned by the civic body.



‘dens for immoral activities’
HC tells admn, MC to probe charges against PGs
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Punjab & Haryana High Court has directed the UT home secretary and the municipal corporation commissioner to look into, and decide within two months, a representation alleging some of the paying guest accommodations in Sector 35 have turned into “dens for immoral activities”.

In the representation, annexed with a petition filed against the UT administration, a resident of Sector 35D, Jaspinder Singh, and another petitioner claimed: “It has become routine in the locality, both during the day and night, to see vehicles bearing registration plates of Chandigarh as well as Punjab and Haryana lifting girls from PGs for immoral activities”.

“Boys and girls staying at PGs roam on the streets in an objectionable manner and indulge in obscene activities during night…Drinking openly in parks and green belts in this sector has become a common affair. Young boys and girls park their flashy cars inside the park and consume liquor. It’s also become common for girls to stay overnight in boys’ PGs”, the representation added.

The petitioners claimed “boys and girls are indulging in illegal and immoral activities by taking advantage of the darkness” because of nonfunctional lights in the four green belts in Sector 35D. “A number of boys can be seen standing outside PGs for girls who invite them there on their cellphones,” they added.

Taking up the petition filed through counsel Yogesh Goel, acting chief justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and justice Surya Kant asserted: “This petition seeks direction for taking resumption proceedings against the owners of seven ‘marla’ houses in Sector 35, Chandigarh, for violation of the Chandigarh (Sale of Sites & Buildings) Rules, 1960. It is stated the owners are misusing their residential premises by running unauthorized paying guest accommodations/commercial activities/hostels in violation of bylaws and the notification dated September 5, 2006. The petitioners made a representation on May 21, pointing out the violations, but no decision has been being taken thereon”.

“Without expressing any opinion on merits at this stage, we direct the UT home secretary and the Chandigarh municipal corporation commissioner to look into the petitioners’ representation in accordance with the law and take a decision thereon within two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order,” the judges stated.



Complaints against PCR cops in Panchkula
Police may outsource No. 100
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 10
After drawing flak from city residents about the police control room not attending to phone calls, the Haryana police is now considering a plan to “outsource” its PCR emergency response number (100).

The local police has been receiving complaints stating whenever a person in need of help, for example after an accident, dials 100, PCR personnel either do not attend to the call or fail to pass on the message to patrolling PCR vehicles. There have also been accusations of verbal misbehaviour by those manning the PCR.

According to sources, police officials are deliberating on a proposal to outsource the emergency number to a private agency in order to streamline the PCR’s functioning and put an end to such complaints. They are of the view that employees of such an agency would perform a better job of passing information to the nearest police station or PCR vehicles patrolling the streets.

Confirming such a proposal was under consideration, a police spokesman, HAS Zaidi, said the police department would soon be renovating the central PCR at the state police headquarters in Sector 6 and install state-of-the-art equipment to improve police communications. “The PCR will be upgraded to ensure the district police’s networking is regularly monitored”, he added.

Another problem the department is facing is that whenever any person in distress calls up the PCR in Panchkula through a landline or mobile phone, it connects to either the police control room in Chandigarh or that in Zirakpur, Punjab. If the proposal goes through the private agency would also be tasked with finding a solution to resolve this issue so that no one faces any difficulty in contacting the PCR.

Official sources said with the Haryana police headquarters in the town being modernized, surplus staff would be shifted to the computerization wing that in turn will help in strengthening police networking in the state.

The sources stated a digital tracking system would also be installed soon, through which senior cops including inspector generals and superintendents of police in various districts would be able to communicate one on one. There would be about 20 lines of a single number and the officers would not have to wait for communicating personally with a police station house officer or officials at the district police headquarters officers, the sources added.

At present the police communications network is not very strong as the old wireless system is being used to pass on departmental messages. The main drawback of this is that messages meant for senior police officers are also passed on to lower-rung cops.



10-year-old girl dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A 10-year-old girl was crushed to death after she was hit by a motorcycle driven by a minor on the road separating Sectors 46 and 47 here this morning.

The mishap took place at 7.30 am when the girl, Khushboo, a resident of Sector 49, was on her way to school. The police arrested the 16-year-old boy who was driving the motorcycle.

The victim was a student of Class IV at Government High School, Sector 45. Eyewitnesses said the girl was running on the road and the motorcycle was also being driven at great speed.

As the minor applied brakes, he fell on the road and so did the girl, who was grievously injured. Both were rushed to hospital, where the girl succumbed to her injuries.

The boy was still under treatment. The police booked the minor in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC at the Sector 34 police station.

Incidents involving minors as victims this year

February 15: A five-year-old girl was crushed to death by a truck near the Chandigarh airport. Shikha Kumari, a Nursery student of Government Model School, Makhan Majra, was hit when the driver of the truck was reversing the vehicle.

February 23: A 12-year-old boy was crushed under a tractor-trailer near Colony No. 4. The victim, Rakesh Kumar, alias Munna, came under a front wheel and died on the spot.

February 25: Four-year-old Anshit Goyal was killed after being hit by a speeding Innova car at Sector 23. The police arrested a 15-year-old Class IX student. The minor, a student of Manav Mangal School, was on a joyride when he failed to notice the child playing outside his house.

March 23: An 18-month-old girl was crushed to death by a car driven by a Panjab University student. The mishap took place when the 22-year-old girl, Ravneet Kaur, reversing her car at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, failed to see 
the girl.



‘Identity proof not must for dead cow’
Pay Rs 45,000 as insurance cover, Rs 10,000 as relief, says consumer forum
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
In an interesting case, where modern-day technology literally lost to conventional wisdom, the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today directed Oriental Insurance Company to pay Rs 45,000 to a Mohali resident for the death of an insured cow. The forum also ordered the company to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to the complainant.

Ruling in favour of the complainant, the forum chose to rely on the colour of the dead cow to ascertain that the animal was indeed the one that was insured, rather than believing the insurance company’s claim that the animal could be different one as the electronic microchip inserted in the body at the time of insuring it was not recovered after its death.

In his complaint, Sarain Singh stated that he had insured 13 cows with the insurance company after purchasing those through the Punjab National Bank, Mubarikpur, under the Punjab government’s ambitious dairy scheme. One of the cows, which was brownish white in colour and mentioned at serial number 5 of the Veterinary Health Certificate, died on October 7, 2009.

The spot investigator verified the dead cow, took photographs and submitted his report to the authorised service provider, which was sent to the insurance company with all requisite documents, but the insurance company refused to accept the documents, with the objection that the financing bank had not countersigned the claim form.

The complainant immediately approached the financing bank, but the manager refused to sign it on the plea that since the bank had not got the animals insured, he was not bound to countersign the documents. Though the complainant brought this matter to the notice of the insurance company, it did not clear the claim.

In its written reply to the forum, the insurance company claimed that the dead cow was not insured with it as the electronic microchip, inserted in the animal at the time of insurance, could not be traced in the dead cow, as per the post-mortem report and spot verification of the dead animal.

The post-mortem report of Dr Joseph Masih mentioned that the dead cow was brownish white in colour and it was the only cow of this colour in the whole herd.

The forum, comprising its president PD Goel and members Rajinder Singh Gill and Mandanjit Kaur Sahota, observed that the rejection of the claim by the insurance company was unjustified in spite of the fact that post-mortem report as well as spot verification of the dead animal showed that though the electronic microchip inserted in the animal at the time of insurance could not be found in the dead cow, it was of the same colour.

The forum stated in its order that the complainant had no role in placing or taking out the microchip from the body of the animal as the same was done by the service provider. It ruled in favour of the complainant and ordered payment of the insured amount.


Born in Chandigarh, Indian citizenship eludes her
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Iranian citizen Fatehmeh Behgam, who claims to have born in Chandigarh 31 years before, has been running from pillar to post to get Indian citizenship, which she says is her right as per provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Fatehmeh Behgam
Fatehmeh Behgam

“After coming here in the last week of March, I have been constantly trying to get Indian citizenship. It is disgusting that no authority concerned even wanted to hear my case,” lamented Behgam, while talking to The Tribune here today.

Showing her birth certificate and other related documents, Behgam said she was born at the PGI on July 30, 1980, and remained in the country till January 28, 1982, with her parents, who had come here for their higher studies.

“As I was born in India, I am eligible as per Section 3 of the Act. But to my utter frustration, nobody is ready to hear me. What to talk of listening to my case, many officials did not attend on me when I went to meet them for the purpose,” alleged Behgam.

A writer by profession, Behgam said she had met the authorities at the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi, but they did not pay heed to her case.

“One of the officials advised me to go to my birthplace, Chandigarh, to pursue my case through the UT Deputy Commissioner and other authorities,” said Behgam. She alleged that the treatment of senior officials was not different.

“Though I am fed up, I am not going to forego my right,” asserted Behgam, adding that the only problem was that her tourist visa would expire on May 16 and she had to go back as her request for extension of visa was also rejected. UT Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh said, “I will look into the matter and try to expedite proceedings, if required.”



Kanishka Tragedy
Not enough relief paid to victims’ kin: Probe chief
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Almost a year after he completed his voluminous report on Kanishka tragedy, Justice John C. Major feels satisfied as the Commission of Inquiry headed by him brought out the truth about this “Canadian atrocity”. But, he is also dismayed as the next of kin of the victims have not beenrevisited for the disbursement of adequate compensation.
Justice John C. Major in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Justice John C. Major in Chandigarh on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Also, many of the recommendations, including some confidential security measures, that formed a part of the 3,000-page report, have not been implemented. He also sounds a note of caution, both for the Canadian and Indian governments: “Sikh radicals are more active in Surrey, British Columbia, than in India. They are a closed group.”

“The Commission, like the Canadian Government, had the impression that killing of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and blasting the Emperor Kanishka Boeing of Air India on June 23, 1985, were in retaliation for the storming of sancto sanctrum of Golden Temple in June 1984 by the Indian security forces,” he says, claiming some of the witnesses, including next of the kin of the victims, also corroborated this impression.

John C. Major, who submitted his report last year, feels that a Board may have been constituted on the basis of his report to categorise next of kin of the victims to determine the slabs of compensation to be paid to them.

“It was unusual for any government to take that long to disburse compensation. In case of the Kanishka tragedy, it took almost 10 years for the Canadian government to do so. In case of 9/11, the families of victims were fully compensated within a year of the tragedy,” he says maintaining that “now some of the next of kin of the victims have died. Unfortunately a second compensation recommended by the Commission was still in the process”.

John C. Major, who is on his maiden visit to India, says that security environment has undergone a sea change. He, however, feels that security at the airports was far from being beefed up. The runway at Calgary airport, for example, he says, has soft fencing. Passenger areas in different areas are still terrorist attack prone, he added.

Also, he clarified that Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted in the Kanishka case, was being tried on different counts. He had sought free legal aid at the time of trial claiming he had no money for hiring a lawyer. “Later, it was found he had enough money. So he is being tried now for committing a fraud.”



Majors still awaiting enhanced pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A large number of retired officers of the rank of Major and equivalent are peeved over the Armed Forces Tribunal’s order enhancing their pension not being implemented by the government months after the judgement was issued.

Speaking to the Tribune here today, some affected officers said the delay in the implementation of the tribunal’s orders was unnecessarily placing them at a financial disadvantage. Officers retiring prior to 2006 and had been given pension lesser than officers of the same rank retiring later. The difference between the pension was about Rs 5,000 per month.

They officers said the non-implementation of the decision showed lack of adequate powers to the tribunal.

Various benches of the tribunal, while disposing off a large number of petitions in batches, had allowed enhanced monetary benefits to Majors and equivalents. In September 2010, the Tribunal’s principal bench had ruled that the pension of pre-2006 retirees should be decided on the basis of minimum of the pay in the pay band .



65.4 pc drivers on highways have tunnel vision: Study
Fail to use side rear view mirrors
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Endangering theirs as well as others’ lives on the roads, a large number of drivers do not make use of side rear view mirrors of their cars, a recent study has revealed.

Conducted on the busy Chandigarh-New Delhi route, the study conducted by an NGO only last month has revealed that 65.4 per cent of the cars either did not have side rear view mirrors or those were kept folded.

The study was conducted by ArriveSAFE, an NGO on road safety, on cars plying on the National Highway-1 [Ambala-Delhi] and National Highway-22 [Chandigarh-Ambala]. The sample size was 1,000 cars, which was further subcategorised into small, medium and high-end cars.

Out of the 758 small cars that were studied, it was found that drivers of 558 did not use the left side rear view mirror as it was either missing, closed or broken. Furthermore, drivers of 102 cars did not use the right side mirror.

In all, over 73 per cent drivers drove their cars in an “unsafe condition”, states the study. In the case of medium and high-end cars, drivers of 96 out of the 242 cars sampled did not use the left side rear view mirror, which works out to nearly 40 per cent.

Besides, 16 drivers of the medium or high-end cars had neither the left or right side rear view mirror. The study comprises photographs of all cars that form part of the sample.

“This means a majority of car drivers on the road have no clue of traffic movement on their rear left and rear right, subjecting themselves and others on the road to grave risk. With wider and better roads, increased speeds and more cars on the roads, the number of accidents caused by these drivers is only expected to further increase,” said Harman Sidhu, chairman, ArriveSAFE.

‘We are challaning violators’

The police have been challaning all those violators found driving without side rear view mirrors as it is an offence under Section 138(4) of the Motor Vehicle Act (failure to keep mandatory accessories). We have been challaning all those committing this violation as it is a serious offence to drive a car with the side rear view mirror folded. Car owners should be cautious since driving without a side rear view mirror can be very dangerous.

Vijay Kumar, DSP (Traffic)



J & K sex scandal
CBI files strongly worded reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Filing its response in court in the Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal case, the CBI today strongly opposed the application moved by Ghulam Ahmed Mir, former J & K minister, wherein he had sought discharge from the ongoing trial in the infamous case. Mir had earlier moved lower court seeking dismissal of the complaint against him.

In its reply, the CBI today submitted that all accused involved in the case were to be tried by the court jointly and not in isolation. Mir in his application had taken the ground that the prosecutrix and witnesses in the case had turned hostile and that there was no evidence with the CBI to proceed against Mir.

The CBI submitted that even though witnesses had turned hostile, it had sufficient evidence to nail and establish the connivance and involvement of the accused involved in the scandal. The CBI had further stated that it was for the court to peruse the evidence produced by the investigating agency and decide as to whether proceedings were to be dropped.



7 years gone, no chief fire officer
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The Chandigarh fire and emergency service department is headless for the past seven years. The reason: there are no contenders for the highly technical and important post of chief fire officer despite the municipal corporation (MC) inviting panels from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh a number of times.

Sources stated that the basic problem for not getting a suitable candidate for this post was a comparatively lower pay scale and lack of interest by the MC. The sources stated that as there was no post of chief fire officer in Punjab, the Punjab government had not sent any applicant for this post to the MC.

Records of the MC showed that past year, the had invited a panel from the three states, but nobody applied for this post, due to which additional charge had been given to the then additional commissioner of the MC.

Fire committee chairman Devinder Singh Babla said the issue would be taken up with officials in the committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Suitable candidates were available within the department itself, he added.

Officials said the department had imparted intensive training to employees so as to make them eligible for promotion to this post, but it was strange that they had never been considered for promotion to this post despite it lying vacant for such a long period.

The sources questioned the need of wasting money in imparting specialised training to employees when they were not to be considered for promotion to the post of chief fire officer by the MC.

Past year, the then MC Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, had stated in the General House that if eligible employees were available within the department to fill this post, no outsider would be considered, but still, this post was still lying vacant.



Six-storeyed block at Sector 63
Officials of GMADA, CHB meet today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 10
Objecting to the coming up of the six-storeyed block of the Sector 63 housing scheme close to residential plots of Phase IX of Mohali, Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) officials have convened a meeting with officials of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) tomorrow to sort out the issue.

Recently, the CHB had started construction at the site after much delay. GMADA estate officer Balbir Singh said one of the proposed blocks of the flats was coming close to GMADA plots.

“We have requested them to realign the block so that some distance can be maintained. The issue will be amicably solved,” he added.

The meeting was convened at the project site so that the issue could be solved right away.

Earlier, the issue of overlapping of boundary had been amicably solved between GMADA and CHB officials.

The project had been embroiled in one or the other controversy ever since it was launched almost three years ago.

The CHB planned to construct 2,108 flats at Sector 63, which included 336 three-bedroom flats, 888 two-bedroom flats, 564 one-bedroom flats and 320 EWS flats, at an estimated cost of Rs 414.45 crore.



Beer dearer

Chandigarh, May 10
The Chandigarh Wine Merchants Association today decided to hike beer rates from tomorrow. While strong beer will cost Rs 70 per bottle, a bottle of light beer will cost Rs 65 througout the city.

The hike is the result of the increase in various taxes and levies in the UT excise policy for 2011-12. Coupled with the allotment of liquor vends at substantially higher prices than last financial year, this has contributed to the price hike. — TNS



Widening of Mohali’s busiest 3.5-km stretch 
GMADA chief: Work to be completed in five months
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 10
In a significant development, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today allotted the work of widening one of the busiest 3.5-km-long sections of the arterial road passing through Phases IV, V, III-B1, III-B2 and VII of Mohali. The road is being widened at a cost of Rs 7 crore.

GMADA chief administrator Saravjit Singh said the project would be completed in five months and adequate parking provision was being made along the roadside. A unique objective of the project was to save maximum number of trees while widening the road.

After conducting a survey of the underground services, the engineering department and the town-planning department of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has given their go-ahead to carving out of a dual carriageway. The width of both sides of the carriageway will vary between 30 and 33 feet, depending on the space available.

“ The road widening has been necessitated keeping in mind the increasing vehicular load on the business street that caters to major commercial areas of Mohali, apart from the residential pockets”, said a GMADA official. Without disturbing the tree cover on the roadside green belt, a central verge in the green belt will be created. Instead of a metalled road, concrete pavement blocks will be used to lay the widened road.

Apart from widening the road, more space will be created in the front and rear end of commercial areas.Benches, billboards and mailboxes will be provided on both sides of the road and landscaping will be done on the entire stretch. The Mohali Municipal Corporation has been asked to put up speed-limit boards, reflectors, cats eye, and other road signage.


Apart from widening the road, more space will be created in the front and rear end of commercial areas.Benches, billboards and mailboxes will be provided on both sides of the road and landscaping will be done on the entire stretch. The Mohali Municipal Corporation has been asked to put up speed-limit boards, reflectors, cats eye, and other road signage. 



Hike in Power Tariff 
Consumers’ body seeks rollback

Mohali, May 10
The Consumer Protection and Awareness Council has demanded immediate withdrawal of hike in power tariff saying it was totally unjustified.

NS Gill, president of the council, said that power was the costliest in Punjab as compared to the neighbouring states. He said that another hike in power tariff was totally unjustified as it would create an additional financial burden on the common man who was already having a tough time making both ends meet as the prices of essential commodities were witnessing a continuous increase. The production of power had not increased in the past decade but the governments kept burdening people by frequently hiking the power tariff, added Gill. — OC



200 to attend road safety meet

Banur, May 10
A conference on road safety will be held at Gian Sagar Medical College. Dr RK Gorea, organising secretary of the conference, said experts from different parts of the country would deliver lectures on various aspects of road safety.

A poster-making contest on road safety will be organised to involve maximum number of persons. Doctors, dentists, nurses, paramedics, and physiotherapists, police officials, representatives of non-governmental organisations, lawyers, judiciary, mediapersons and students will participate in the deliberations. A total of 200 persons have registered for participation. — TNS



7,000 more jobs in tricity by 2012: Experts
Neha Miglani/TNS

Chandigarh, May 10
Hinting at a significant dearth of hospitality graduates in the region, statistics reveal that 7,000 more jobs would be generated in the hotel and restaurants industry by 2012 in the tricity.

Hospitality experts cited that due to an increase in the number of business travellers visiting the city in the past two years, occupancy level in city hotels has shot up by 44 per cent.

In an interview with The Tribune, Munish Khanna, CEO, UEI Global Institutes, who was in the city today said despite prominent hospitality companies showing a keen interest in the city, the ratio of hospitality graduates and number of jobs available in the hospitality sector was completely skewed.

“There are 130 big and small hotels in the tricity. At present, eight major hotel industry players are either operating in the city or are planning to open up a hotel here. According to the survey done by a leading business magazine, there is a shortage of skilled professionals,” said Khanna.

He said there was a gap between the demand and supply of trained professionals in the industry. “Most of the trained hospitality students passing out will have at least five jobs in hand,” added Khanna.

Khanna was in town to promote the Chandigarh campus of UEI Institutes in Sector 34 that offers graduate degrees in hotel management and business administration. The institute also offers an MBA degree. “About 70 per cent of the syllabus is based on practical and field work in all our courses and the curriculum is accepted worldwide. Students can get their credits transferred to six international universities. A community college has also been set up, along with IGNOU, in which we will be taking care of poor students,” he added.

A special programme “advance communication for employment” of duration 300 hours will also be offered to students to ensure better employability in UEI, he added.



Health scheme for poor
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, May 10
Rashtriya Sehat Bima Yojna (National Health Insurance Scheme) has been proving a boon for people belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL), as they have been getting free medical treatment under the scheme.

Hundreds of people covered under the scheme had taken advantage during a medical camp organised at Dera Bassi Civil Hospital.

Nearly 116 card 
holders of the scheme visited the camp and got treatment and medicines free of cost. Deputy medical superintendent Dr Jagota presided over the camp.

SMO of Dera Bassi Civil Hospital Dr Meena had advised the concerned persons to take advantage of the scheme.

She said up to five members of card holder family could take advantage of the scheme by getting free medical treatment of Rs 30,000 within one year. A total of 3,000 cards were provided under this yojna at Dera Bassi so far.



Singing contest on May 15

Chandigarh, May 10
The Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society will hold singing Contest for Best Singer Award-2011 in male and female Categories on May 15, 2011 at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh at 8.00 a.m.

Male participants will sing Mohd. Rafi songs and female Lata’s. The prizes will be given by a film personality and well known actress Vyjayantimala in the Society’s annual feature Mohd. Rafi Nite on November 12, 2011 at Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh. — TNS



AIEEE question paper leak
CBSE mulls online entrance exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Following the recent leak of All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) question paper, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is mulling over designing an online route to admissions in various medical and engineering institutions.

“As part of our pilot project we had conducted AIEEE online for some candidates and it was a successful experience. Online mode of examination is the future, which will curtail problems like leak etc. We can look forward to online admissions spread over 15 -20 days as in the case of CAT. Though the programme will be a little different, there may be some teething troubles, but, the system will be a more reliable version,” said a CBSE official from Delhi.

The board has constituted a committee to examine the possibilities of conducting online medical and engineering entrance examination. The committee comprises Prof Phalguni Gupta of IIT Kanpur, Prof BR Garg from University of Delhi and MC Sharma, examination director at CBSE, Delhi. The committee has also been asked to find out the source of the leak and suggest ways to plug in the gap.

It has also been asked to expedite related issues highlighted during police investigations.

Exam centres

* CBSE will conduct All India Engineering/Architecture Entrance Examination (AIEEE) tomorrow at five city centres for all those candidates who couldn’t appear for examination on May 1

* City centres and roll numbers of those candidates, who couldn’t appear because the exam centre where they were to appear was also the centre for Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) examination and the centre couldn’t conduct AIEEE, will remain the same. Such candidates can appear with their old admit cards or download it from CBSE website.

* Those candidates who couldn’t appear in AIEEE because they were to appear for AFMC examination at different centres or because of their online or offline examination or some administrative reasons, were asked to register online through CBSE website between May 3 and 5. Such candidates have been allotted exam centres in the city of their choice. Their roll numbers will remain same as allotted.



Yoga students awarded degrees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A total of 11 BEd yoga degrees and nine postgraduate diplomas in yoga therapy were awarded during the second annual convocation at Government College of Yoga Education and Health, Sector 23, here today.

Dr Nandita Singh, chairperson, department of education, Panjab University, in her convocation address stressed upon the need to understand discipline of yoga. She emphasised that yoga teachers needed to imbibe the spirit of this grand heritage knowledge so that the rampant commercialisation in the field could be checked. Dr Harsh Batra, college principal, presented the annual report and welcomed the guests.

She urged yoga graduates to bring about the much needed renaissance of the spiritual wealth existing in the grand heritage of 
the nation.



PU Notes
Toppers to be honoured

Chandigarh: Panjab University will be awarding medals to university toppers on May 17, 2011 at 10.30 am in the university auditorium. TKA Nair, principal secretary to Prime Minister, will be the chief guest. PU anthem composed by lyricist Irshad Kamil will also be formally launched on the occasion.

National conference

The department of mechanical engineering, University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University, will host a national conference on “Advances in Mechanical Engineering (NCAME-2011)” on May 20 and 21, 2011, on the UIET premises. Chairman of NCAME-2011 Dr Harmesh said the event aimed at strengthening relationship between academics and entrepreneurs.


A four-week in-service training programme for teachers was inaugurated at Academic Staff College, PU, here today. Thirty-five participants from various states are participating in the programme. Shelley Walia, director, Academic Staff College, PU, highlighted theme of the course “Higher Education at the Crossroads: New Dynamics for Social Responsibilities”. He motivated teachers to break the boundaries of rigid discipline in order to understand the dynamics of knowledge and society to take up challenges of the present era. BS Ghuman, Syndic, Panjab University, and professor, public administration, PU, spoke on the significance of investing in the youth of the country on the educational front. —TNS



Govt school sans power for month
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 10
Students of Government Primary School, Nabha Sahib, near here, are finding themselves quite “powerless”. The school has been functioning without power supply for more than one month.

According to sources, nearly 150 students are forced to sit in classrooms sans fans or air coolers. Instead of fans, harried students are using their notebooks and books in order to escape from scorching heat. The students remain in sweat throughout the day and find it difficult to concentrate on studies, sources added.

Some village folks alleged that electricity supply had been cut off over one month due to non-payment of electricity bills by area councillor.

However, area councillor claimed that the electricity bill had already been submitted and the supply would be resumed soon.

School authorities rued that there had been no electricity in the school from March. They said school teachers had submitted complaints to the panchayat village several times, but nothing had been done so far. Later, the school staff visited electricity office at Chhat village to lodge a complaint on April 25, but officials told them that they had no information about the disrupted supply in the school, school authorities added.

Meanwhile, POWERCOM’s SDO GS Sandhu claimed that he was not aware about the matter and the department had not received any complaint regarding the same.

When asked about the disconnection of the power supply for non-payment of bill, he said he would have to check the records before saying anything.



Students say no to tobacco
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 10
Sahayata Cancer Kendra, Chandigarh, organised an interactive workshop at St Soldier’s School, Mohali. As the workshop commenced, Madhu Nagpal enlightened the audience about the reason for celebrating “No Tobacco Day.”

She asked the audience about the meaning of “awareness” and enquired whether they were aware about the effects of tobacco.

Thought-provoking posters were displayed to highlight the harmful effects of tobacco. Renu Saigal and Santosh Bhanu, further stressed upon the extent of harmful effects of chewing tobacco.

They said 90 per cent cancer cases occur due to tobacco consumption.

Principal V Tiwana elaborated on active and passive smoking and their effects on children and expected mothers.

The workshop concluded with the students taking a pledge “No to smoke”.



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